Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag Kenway's Fleet Guide

A guide on how to best utilize Kenway's Fleet in Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag.

In Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag, around sequence 8, you gain the ability to use Kenway's Fleet. This will be used in a variety of ways. First of all you can go on missions throughout the Atlantic and gain more goods and money, and s mentioned in my guide to sailing, you can now capture desirable ships and add them to your fleet. 

Note: Kenway's Fleet requires a steady Internet connection, so if you don't have one, you're out of luck.

How to Attract More Desirable Ships To Add to Your Fleet

If you're just puttering around in the ocean, you can encounter a half-dozen schooners and gunboats, but you're never going to get to Africa with a fleet of schooners. What you need are a few bigger, badder ships. 

 For one, you can attract Hunter ships. To do so you must attack ships enough to raise your wanted level. Usually ships that are brig-level or above will get you to raise your wanted level faster. Once you're over Level 1, you're going to attract a Hunter ships. These ships are red-sailed menaces and tough to kill, but it's a good ship to add to your fleet, or scrap, which we'll explain later. 

Another good place to pick up ships is Royal Convoys. These Royal Convoys are also part of the single-player online element, and are a good way to get a lot of gold and a pretty decent ship to add to your fleet. These convoys will pop up in your mini-map as blue icons, and if one of your online friends is also playing AC4, then you should also be getting alerts from when they find Royal Convoys. These ships aren't the strongest in the fleet, but early game they were especially helpful for keeping the seas clear for my safe passage. 

Lastly, a good strong ship is a Man O War. You encounter these tough guys usually on story missions, and they're a rough bit to kill. I'd recommend attacking one of the smaller ships that usually escorts them and then taking them down, and my guide on ship combat would be a good place to look for more exact tips on that. Man O Wars are great for two reasons: 1) they have excellent fire power and 2) their storage is pretty much unparalleled. 

Ships All Boarded, Now What? 

Remember to board the ships, don't sink them. They're just going to give you some minor goods and crew if you sink them.

Now, if your ship has not been substantially injured by the previous fight, you can afford to not repair the Jackdaw. Simply select "Send to Kenway's Fleet," even if you're pretty sure you're going to scrap the boat. 

Kenway's Fleet runs on a slightly different economy than the rest of the game: gemstones. You can use Kenway's fleet through the Captain's Quarters on the ship, and from here you can decide the fate of captured ships. 

Don't waste your dock space on small, insignificant boats. The big ships are worth the wait. 

You really only have two options. One, you can add the ship to your fleet (if you have the dock space, but more on that later) or you can scrap the ship for gemstones. Gemstones allow you to buy more dock space, repair ships damaged in battle for territory, etc. They are very valuable, as you can only earn them in the Kenway's Fleet mini-game. 

Sometimes when I'm playing, I send schooners to Kenway's fleet simply so I can collect gemstones for them. This will help in the long run, especially if you damage your Man O War in a battle to control trade to Portugal. 

What About Docks? 

You are limited to the amount of docks you can have, and when you get enough gemstones, you can use those to purchase more dock space. 

You can also salvage another ship from the fleet to make more dock space.

How to Use Your Fleet

The primary map you'll be using to access Kenway's Fleet is your naval map. This map, which resembles colored constellations, features all the routes you have access to (you can add more routes through completing missions) as well as the safeness of the routes. The danger level of the route is color coded similar to a stoplight, red means hazardous and green means safe. 

Ships are used for one of two things. One is ship battles to secure the route and the other is naval missions. 

Ship battles are probably the most tactic involved aspects of Kenway's Fleet. These acts of naval warfare are a way of claiming your territory, and making it so that the routes your ships use are safer -- making it easier and faster for them to complete naval missions. You can select a ship battle by pressing Y on the above menu. 

Once you are in the ship battle menu, you can make your decisions. I'm very precautionary, so I never go into a fight unless I have a 100% chance of success, especially with some of my more valuable ships like the Man o War. Below is an image of a ship battle: 

This interface is all about picking which ships will be the best in a fight against the others. Above your ships are your "odds of success." Now, there's no reason to throw your big guns at every battle. A Man O War is a little more costly to fix, so if you're just fighting a gunboat, you can send a schooner to take care of the job. 

The first slot is your primary ship, and the two other slots help to add more damage to the other fleet, and to spread the damage across your ships so they don't sink one of your ships. Each battle is different, but always shoot for high odds.

Above is a ship battle. The red circles indicate how fast a ship is firing. Like in a Jackdaw fight, little ships fire faster but hit softer, big ships fire slower but can really pack a punch. Keep that in mind while selecting your ships. While you can shoot fire barrels, I honestly don't recommend doing that unless you are in dire straights.  Barrels are given through random drops from destroying other ships, so they're a rare commodity.

At this point, all you can really do is watch the battle play out with your selected pawns. If it looks like the fight is going poorly, you can flee or you can shoot fire barrels, but if you choose a very high percentage rate, you're not going to have to worry about that. 

Naval missions are the other aspect of Kenway's Fleet. These are how you gain resources, a bit of coin, and some items. Simply select a mission from the drop down menu. This is really a matter of personal preference, but I usually like to keep one of my larger ships at home while the rest do missions, just so I can go and do more ship battles if the seas get hazardous again. 

Why Do I Care About Kenway's Fleet? 

It's true, the Kenway's Fleet part of Assassin's Creed 4 is not necessary to complete the story missions. But there are a couple of reasons you might want to look into it. 

First and foremost, it can actually be sort of fun. I had a lot of fun figuring out how to spread out my fleet assets, and really missed when I wasn't able to work with this specific aspect of the game. 

Outside of enjoyment, you can get treasure maps from Kenway's Fleet. If you're a completionist, you'll need to find all the treasure maps and complete all the fleet missions to receive all the Abstergo Cheats, including Deceased Crew. 

Did I miss something about Kenway's Fleet? Have any questions? Leave a comment in the section below. 

Read more Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag guides

Former Staff Editor

Former rugby player, social media person, and occasional writer.

Published Nov. 21st 2013
  • generik_5260
    i have an interesting problem. i capture ships and when i go to add them to my fleet their stats drop. i capture and send a lvl 38 frigate, and the stats when i go to add them into the fleet drop to a lvl 29 stats. why?
  • Ken_9287
    I've come back to this game after time away, started fresh. I learned something very helpful about the fleet battle minigame:
    The enemy always attacks your highest HP ship. This means that you should always put a man o war in your third slot, but nowhere else. This way you minimize damage taken, and therefore it is quicker and cheaper to repair. I put a brig in slot one, a frigate in slot two. Then I only need fire barrels in fights against multiple men o war. The minigame goes much faster this way.
  • nog642
    I sent all my ships on missions, then I captured 3 Man o' Wars. I had an open dock for one of them but I had to ignore the rest. Later, I came back and some of the ships on missions had returned, but I still had no open docks, and the "ignore for now" option was gone. On top of that I couldn't scrap any of the ships in my fleet except the first Man o' War because I had to deal with the captured ships before the other ships returned. Help!
  • ted_3724
    Hi why are my ship not going to my fleet ,I can send it to the fleet but it never shows up and I have lots of open docks
  • Blake _2852
    I have a question about assassin's creed black flag if I have a ship waiting but don't have the.gems for a dock and I ignore it for now how do I go back and get those ships after I salvage some of my weaker ships need help on this asap I have 4 man o war ships that I had to ignore for now and I need those ships desperately
  • satianna66
    i cannot find where you get to the naval map. can anyone help please!
  • brickciti74
    are you able to upgrade the ships bc on assassin's creed 2 when you would send ur assassins to do missions you could upgrade them
  • Berat _6144
    Merhaba arkadaşlar ben Assassin Creed 4 oynuyorum ama Kenway Fleet savaşına nereden girebilirim.nerede orası.LÜTFEN YARDIM EDİN.TEŞEKKÜRLER.
  • mike_6330
    Umm, great article but I got a question. Most of mY trade routes are gray so inaccessible, how do I get access to them? Do I just get them as the game goes on in story mode?
  • Anthony_2810
    My fleet
  • Anthony_2810
    Can I make them follow me
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    Follow you? I'm not sure I know what you mean. If you mean in game, from my experience the Fleet is almost like a mini-map, and you don't really interact with them once you've captured the vessels beyond the Fleet mini-game.
  • james_7053
    Im at sequence 4 and i can still access it.
  • laura_3766
    What do the little symbols or icons next to specific trade missions represent? I know the exclamation mark means that the mission has not been completed, but I cant figure out what the little "globe-like" and little flying note thingy do. does anyone know what they mean?
  • Amanda Wallace
    Former Staff Editor
    That probably has to do with what you win? the flying notes usually represent sea shanties, for example.
  • Exile9784
    i got a total of 15 ships on my fleet and i cant add more, when i capture a ship i can only pick between "Salvage this Ship" or "Salvage ship from the fleet"

    any ideas?
  • alan_5008
    I was wondering where to find mano wars with a cargo of at least 80, i have plenty of 70 cargo ships, but thats not sufficient anymore
  • byron_8776
    You don't have any info on how to help friends using Kenway's Fleet. I Have a full fleet of Man 'o Wars, but I can only help my friends by speeding them up. It will not give me the option to send an escort ship. Do you have to have a certain size ship to escort? Does it only work if my ship and my friend's ships are at the same port?
  • Matt 3617
    How do u complete kenways fleet when u have all the missions?
  • Djames_5476
    is there some way to use the stuffs that the fleet has gained after the battle? For example, sugar, wood and so on.
    I'm referring the itens above the menus selectable via R1 and L1 (the fleet | naval map | ship progress)
  • Dan Lewis
    Your general remarks about this are fine, so no issues with anything you've posted. I DO have several issues with "Kenway's Fleet". First, there's a limited number of gemstones you can acquire; after that, no matter how many you earn, the game doesn't register them, so you're throwing them away. Second, the limited number of docks limit the number of ships you can acquire; once again, you are throwing away your efforts and gemstones. Also, the rudimentary way this Fleet game is designed, it seems to act like a one-way street. For example, I sent my fleet out on various missions; meanwhile, I capture several level 60 ships, the best you can capture. But "Kenway's Fleet" is a one-way street; the interface only allows me to turn my new big ships into gemstones, which I've already maxed out to the highest number. Somehow, the game doesn't offer me the option to scrap the ships returned from missions, only the newer better ships I want to keep. So my only option is to scrap 4 big 60 level ships for gemstones that will never even register, because I'm maxed out. I'm having a blast with the main AC 4, but Kenway's Fleet is clumsy, poorly thought out and poorly designed, worst of all, BORING. Thanks for the space to vent to fellow players; no offense meant to you.
  • AssassinsMark017
    Ok I just wanna point a few things out.. reading through the comments Ive noticed a few things,. to get away from the add dock screen or salvage ship screen you should only need to add dock or salvage ships u may have to many that you captured. on the getting ships with a higher cargo load usually the southern part of your ingame map has the strongest ships look for man o wars that are level 60 thats the ingame max and always has 90 cargo space. Me personally i have 4 man o wars 2 with 70 cargo and 2 with 90 and the rest are all frigates with different cargo spaces about 40 to 50 cargo spread between 5 ships it works out great for me and I also use the companion app so in the am at work i send out my fleet to locations and usually by the following morning they are all back that for me is the best mix. Great thread though :)
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